Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ask Linda #1700-Two putted balls collide

Dear Linda, 
Last Saturday playing an individual Stableford event we were stumped with a ruling on the Par 3 third hole on our River Course. Would be grateful if you could clear this one up.

Both Player A and Player B are on the putting surface. 
Player A is furthest away and is about to putt. 
Player B, closer to the hole is also about to putt. 
Neither player is aware of each other about to putt and they play at the same time, with Player B setting his ball in motion a fraction ahead of Player A.
Both balls travel close to the hole and Player A's ball looks like it's about to drop into the hole when it collides with Player B's ball. 
Player B's ball gets knocked into the hole and Player A's stays above ground.

What is the ruling?
We could not get consensus in our pro-shop. 

Under Rule 19-5b it is assumed that the strokes of each player should be cancelled and each player to replay their shot.

However, under Rule 16-1f, a 2-stroke penalty applies to a player if they make a stroke whilst another ball is in motion from a stroke on the putting green unless it was their turn to play. As Player B set their ball in motion first and it was Player A's turn to play then is it correct to say neither gets a penalty?

Some in the pro-shop were saying that both get a 2 shot penalty but I couldn't find anything in the rulebook to agree with that.

Many thanks for your help.
Lou from Australia

Dear Lou,

There is no penalty to Player A for putting while another ball was in motion since it was his turn to play [Rule 16-1f].

There is no penalty to Player B for playing out of order [Rule 10-2c].

Since both strokes were made from the putting green, and both balls were stopped or deflected by a moving outside agency, both strokes are canceled and must be replaced and replayed [Rule 19-5b]. Failure to do so would result in a two-stroke penalty or possible disqualification [Rule 20-7c, Rule 19-5b, and Decision 19-1/3].

Players would be well advised to respect the order of play (particularly on the putting green), and to pay attention to their fellow competitors.

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